Purpose of the flight and payload description
The objective of this flight was to collect a large data set on the Indian summer monsoon and to improve knowledge on various related meteorological problems in the Indian Ocean region, as part of the BALSAMINE campaign (BALlons Surpressurises pour l'Analyse de the Mousson INdienne d'Ete). During it, carried out by the French space agency CNES and the Dynamic Meteorology Laboratory between the months of May and July 1979, a total of 60 balloons were launched from the Seychelles Islands while another 28 were released from Diego-Suárez , on the island of Madagascar.
The balloons used during BALSAMINE were of the Boundary Layer Pressurized type. Being completely closed envelopes, they maintain a constant volume and therefore move at a uniform flight height, navigating the air masses. They act as Lagrangian tracers of these masses (like a buoy in the ocean) while obtaining meteorological data of interest on their journey.
The balloons (which we can see in the image on the left) were made of non-stretchable polyester with a diameter of 2.5 meters. The electronic equipment, except for the environmental sensors and the antenna, was located inside the envelope in a Styrofoam container attached to the bottom of the balloon. The power supply (lithium batteries), the transmitter-oscillator, the data encoder and a pressure transducer to measure the pressure inside the balloon were housed there. An antenna for the Argos satellite system, a second pressure transducer to measure outside air pressure, and its associated electronics were attached to the apex of the globe, while the remaining two temperature sensors and humidity sensor were located at the end of three appendages. 80 cm long that were attached to the outer walls of the balloon.
The total weight of the set was of the order of 3.5 kg.
Details of the balloon flight
Balloon launched on: 5/26/1979
Launch site: Seychelles International Airport, Mahe
Balloon launched by: Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES)
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Super Pressure Balloon
Flight identification number: 942
Campaign: BALSAMINE (BALlons Surpressurises pour l'Analyse de la Mousson INdienne d'Ete)